The last week of July is “dog days,” a time when politics is in a calm before the inevitable September primary and November electoral storm. And so we had City Council Speaker Christine Quinn baking a rhubarb pie in the pages of the New York Times, and 22-year-old Mindy Meyer leading the news cycle. Even in the slow days though, there are winners and their counterparts, the losers.
Dan Garodnick –The comptroller hopeful, sailing smoothly along under the radar, earned the first endorsement for any citywide office in the 2013 election cycle when his city council colleagues Rosie Mendez and Diana Renya announced they were supporting him on Thursday. Mendez and Renya chose to endorse Garodnick over their other colleague, Finance Committee Chairman Domenic Recchia, who may also be in the running for comptroller. The Mendez-Reyna endorsment could help bring important Latino support to Garodnick’s campaign.
Mindy Meyer - New York seems to have itself a real, live Elle Woods. Mindy Meyer, an Orthodox Jew from Flatbush, Brooklyn, has erupted on the political scene as the youngest woman ever to run for State Senate. And she’s playing the game her way, with dozens of appearances on both local and national television, an endorsement from the Brooklyn Conservative Party, and the glitziest website ever made (over 400,000 views and counting). Her unimpressed opponent, State Senator Kevin Parker, should watch his back- this gal is on the scene with her own bend and snap. She wants his seat, and for some unexplainable and fabulous reason, the entire world knows it.
James Odato – Gov. Andrew Cuomo has diligently kept out of the national spotlight, perhaps laying low until the right moment comes to gear up for a presidential run. But even though he’s largely avoided the harsh glare of the national media, local reporters like the Albany Times Union’s Odato haven’t let the governor off easy. Working with Jimmy Vielkind, Odato this week revealed that Cuomo’s office gets to pick through his AG records before reporters can see them, which is yet another example of his extremely tight control of information despite grand claims of transparency.
Michael Bloomberg – Mayor Bloomberg is going to be a terror for cowardly politicians everywhere for the next two years, while he holds onto his high profile mayoral position, has billions of influential philanthropic dollars, and without another political role in sight, has nothing to lose by being as honest as he wants to be. And he proved that this week when he spoke out on a subject he’s given his full attention: gun control. His judgment and outspokenness drove a national conversation on the issue this week, making both the president and his would-be replacement Mitt Romney look almost wimpy by comparison.
Cy Vance – Public officials have railed against gun violence, but few city leaders have done as much to seize guns from the streets in the past week as Vance has. On Thursday, the District Attorney busted up a Harlem motorcycle and firearm ring, announcing indictments for 33 defendants and recovering 15 guns in the case. And earlier in the week, Vance secured a conviction for a serial sex abuser and two decades-long sentences for convicted killers Hassan Malik and Boris Brown. You guessed it. Cy’s got his mojo back.
Larry Seabrook – You can’t fool all of the juries all of the time. After beating his first corruption case, which ended in a mistrial, the Bronx power broker could not shake off allegations of steering $1.5 million in slush money to a nonprofit he controlled when a jury convicted him on public corruption charges in Manhattan federal court on Thursday. Details about the case leaked throughout the week, but the one that stuck was the image of Seabrook canvassing gas stations for sales receipts which he would then reimburse as personal expenses with his political club. He may have swindled millions in taxpayer dollars, but that story made the councilman look cheap.
Grace Meng – Congressional hopeful Grace Meng’s campaign was running swimmingly until her father, former Assemblyman Jimmy Meng, was arraigned for accepting a fruit basket containing an $80,000 cash bribe on Tuesday. Dubbed a “knucklehead” by the Daily News, Meng senior allegedly offered to use his “connections” with the Manhattan DA’s office to get a sentence reduction for a friend who was being prosecuted for tax evasion. But it turns out this “friend” was already being helped by the FBI, who recorded the conversations. (The recordings of Jimmy include such gems as “Never talk about money on the phone” and “If something goes wrong, my life will become miserable,” according to the News and the Queens Chronicle.) The junior Meng has tried to distance herself from her father, saying she had no knowledge of his corrupt ways, but it remains to be seen what the affect will be on her political ambitions.
Juan Reyes — When choosing winners and losers, THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE! That was the Highlander-inspired refrain in bizarre, conspiracy-filled press release sent out by a Reyes supporter last week, though Reyes’ campaign denies it was behind the missive. But the main reason Reyes is a loser this week is because his opponent Councilman Eric Ulrich’s campaign got out an effective hit on Reyes’ propensity to skip voting – even when his own boos, Rudy Giuliani, was on the ballot in 1997. Meanwhile, Democratic State Sen. Joe Addabbo, who will face the winner of the expected Republican bloodbath, has to be smiling.
Letitia James – Ruben Diaz Jr. has yet to officially jump into the race for public advocate, but the fact that he’s made public that he’s taking a serious look at a run is bad news for James. James, a Brooklyn councilwoman, was poised to be the leading progressive minority candidate for New York City’s second-highest elected office, but the news that Diaz is eyeing a run too – not to mention the Bronx borough president’s sizeable campaign funds – will make it that much harder for James and all the other candidates looking to replace Bill de Blasio.
Andrew Cuomo– The governor has an awesome 70-plus approval rate in his most recent poll, but his media week was crappy, owing largely to his administration’s weird media strategy that could end up biting him in the future when he most needs sympathetic coverage. For many national journalists, whose interest in the governor as a presidential candidate is just beginning, it’s been jarring to find a serious presidential candidate as the subject of a series of negative stories about his Administration’s handling of records most other politicians rarely worry about. And Con Edison negotiations notwithstanding, last week’s late Friday news dump of an unflattering letter to the New York Times during wall-to-wall national coverage of the Denver shootings was ignoble.
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